By Cazey Williams
According to my Facebook newsfeed, a football game happened Sunday , and somebody lost. It was either the Packers or the Cowboys, or maybe both? Maybe there were simultaneous games? No idea. The only sports game that I actually remember (and that doesn’t mean I care) is the Superbowl. I only know when it is because somebody told me they always host a winter ball the night before, and I’m going to said winter ball. And no, I won’t be watching the Superbowl; I’ll probably go to the gym because it will be empty. *rejoice*
Welcome to my life: I am a heterosexual male who neither follows nor likes sports. My sexuality only matters because we live in a heteronormative society where if I wasn’t male, it might be acceptable for me to change the channel to HGTV during the World Series. (Did you know the World Series isn’t just one game? I mean, the name gives it away, but my intuition never picked up on it.)
It’s not for lack of trying that I’m not into sports. My parents enrolled me in T-ball and soccer when I was a tyke. My biggest memory in soccer is standing on the field watching the rest of the team chase the ball. And no, I wasn’t the goalie.
This past summer, Sara asked me to join a dodgeball team with her. I will do almost anything for a story, so I agreed with the reminder that “I’m not coordinated, so I can’t promise we’ll get many goals.”
First, Sara tells me, “There are no goals in dodgeball. Haven’t you played?”
Me: “Yeah, in pre-school and elementary school. We’d kick the ball and run the bases.”
” . . . That’s kickball.”
“Oh, same thing.” Except they’re not. Oh, they’re so not. And I get that when I think about the word, but in my mind both are just a physical activity that involves a spherical object.
Sara retracted the offer to be on the team.
Thankfully I am aware of my ignorance and don’t try to hide it. Friends quiz me all the time to see just how dumb I am.
“How many yards are in a football field?”
Dead stares. Hey, I’m half right.
“Which inning is the longest in baseball?”
“Erm.” Let’s start with how many innings are in baseball? (And I still don’t get why, probabilistically speaking, they aren’t all the same length.)
My lack of sports knowledge has led to some interesting situations. In general, I try to avoid sports-related talk, but this past year I became events chair for my alumni chapter – and consequently, I was asked to set up football game viewing parties. My cup of tea! I book the space, set up the decorations, and people show up. The caveat is, I’m supposed to attend. I usually place myself between my friends, choosing the chair whose back is to the TV, and proceed to scroll through Twitter for the next three hours.
Soon after the first event, the president of my alma mater’s athletic club reached out to me about cohosting events – and he wanted to meet in person. Me aloud to my fellow exec board: “Does anyone want to join me for the meeting? (Because I don’t know the difference between a goal vs. score vs. touchdown, so I don’t think I’m the best representative here. Also, who plays on our team?)”
No one could join. The meeting went fine other than the pitch where if I donated $25 annually to the athletic club, I could receive priority seating at home games and be put into a raffle for tickets to the Final Four. Those are definitely in the top two of things that extrinsically motivate me.
Recently Sara invited me to accompany her to a high school basketball game; her friend was the coach. I replied, “Well, we can hang out after the game.” When we did, she told me the final score, which was supposed to imply a tight game, but points mean nothing to me because they’re so arbitrary. All I know is that in football you can get six, seven, two, three, etc. points. (I considered reading the NFL Beginner’s Guide to Football, but decided that was too much research for this post.) And tennis, which I actually do enjoy: love-love? Personally, I’m a fan of integers that logically ascend.
Anyway, Sara tried explaining (she eventually gave up) by talking about the lines on the court. It all reminded me of childhood and playing hopscotch on those lines during recess. Now recess is a sport I like.